Category Archives: Pet News

Feeling Melan-collie? Just Pug-get About it!

I don’t know about you but anytime someone talks about dog shows I immediately think about one of the best dog movies of all time: Best In Show. It is because of this movie that every time I see a bloodhound I blurt out “How you doin’, hound doggy?” in my best ventriloquist impression. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, I suggest you do so before The National Dog Show Presented by Purina airs this coming weekend of November 16-17th on NBC. You may find some difficulty discerning between the movie and real life! 

Earlier this year, Purina conducted a survey of pet owners to generate a list of the fifty most popular dog breeds in America. I am not going to cover all fifty breeds and their rankings in this article, but I would love to point out which breeds were found on the list. 

Ranked at the 50th most popular breed in America is the Bloodhound! “How you doin’, hound doggy?” Okay, I’ll stop. The Bloodhound is descended from European (Belgium, UK, France, Scotland, and England) hounds and were originally bred for hunting. Starting in the Middle Ages, Bloodhounds were employed to track people by scent. A secret to their strong sense of smell? Their extra skin folds help trap scents from the ground up to their noses! 

Another very intelligent and active dog is the Collie, which is ranked as the 40th most popular breed in America. There are two types of collies out there; the smooth coat and the rough coat (think Lassie). Collies are known for their high intelligence levels, but did you know that we can trace the lineage of modern collies back to one dog? Now you know.

I know I made an assumption that you would be familiar with all the dogs that made the top 50 list. However, this breed may be one of the few that you haven’t heard of or met before. The 30th most popular breed is the Vizsla. They look like a golden version of Weimaraners, if that helps. These tan, short coated, and sporty dogs are descended from dogs in the Austro-Hungarian empire. Vizsla typically become very attached to chosen individuals.

This next breed, ranked at the 20th position on the list, surprised me. Being surrounded by dogs all the time, I would have guessed that Shih Tzu would be higher up on the list. I suppose my point of view would be biased working in grooming facilities, since they need that regular maintenance. The name Shih Tzu means “little lion,” and actually originated in Tibet (not to be confused with Tibetan Terriers, but you can see the similarities between them). In my experience, most Shih Tzus have wonderful and funny personalities, with very expressive faces.

Number 10 on the list is the German Shorthaired Pointer; yet another very smart breed often employed for hunting. GSP are great bomb sniffing dogs as well, just as the US Air Force, who utilizes their skills. This breed is a result of a combination of multiple breeds. It is difficult to pinpoint the exact lineage, but it is believed that they originally derived from a German bird dog. Other breeds believed to have contributed to the GSP include the Spanish pointer, English pointer, the Dalmatian, the Weimaraner, the tracking hound, and the Vizsla. That’s a pretty impressive heritage!

I think we can all agree that the top 5 breeds have definitely earned their positions. Coming in at number 5 is the English Bulldog. We’ve all seen the videos of bulldogs riding on skateboards, but the origins of this breed are a bit more gruesome. They were bred for bull baiting in the UK from 1206-1835. Being low to the ground gave these dogs an advantage at grabbing the bull’s snout. Many dogs were injured or killed while this sport was still legal. Once it became illegal, however, the Bulldog almost faced extinction. In more modern times, bulldogs are great for apartment living and require little exercise.

There’s no better breed to follow up the Bulldog with than the French Bulldog, at number 4. Also, very popular in city settings due to their small size and low energy temperament. This breed actually originated in England, and were bred as companion animals. Created out of the Bulldog breed, the sole reason for the French Bulldog is to love us! They make wonderful babysitters and are actually very sensitive to the way humans speak to them (i.e. criticism vs upbeat tones). If you plan on taking your Frenchies out on the lake with you, make you to equip them with life vests, because this breed cannot swim.

For years, Golden Retrievers have been consistently ranked in the top popular breeds and this time around is no different. At number 3, this breed has a reputation for being family-friendly pups and natural athletes. Golden Retrievers are well-rounded dogs, being great companions, hunting partners, travelers, and swimmers. They are able to adapt to any adventures their human counterparts take them on!

Growing up with a former police officer, my father insisted that the only dog we would have in our family was the German Shepherd. Ranking as the 2nd most popular breed in America, this breed is known for their intelligence, loyalty, protection, and playfulness. When I was young and both of my parents worked, I would often go home from school to my favorite babysitter; our German Shepherd, Roxie. I always knew I would be safe with her. World War I brought this breed West from Germany, and are dedicated workers. Depending on the region they were bred in, there are five different types of German Shepherds; each having their own body structure and coat conditions.

This leaves us with the number 1 most popular dog breed in America. By process of elimination, I’m sure you’ve figured out by now that this position goes to the Labrador Retriever. The original purpose for breeding this dog was for fishing. Most labs love swimming so this shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone. They are typically very fast dogs, with very happy personalities. They live to make us humans happy. Perhaps this contributes to their long lives that Labrador Retrievers often reach. In fact, the oldest recorded Labrador Retriever was 29 years old. Great with families and highly adaptable, we could all learn the key to happiness from Labradors!

Like I said, these breeds are already familiar to most of us. As much as I love all the different breeds out there, the thing I look forward to most when it comes to The National Dog Show is the more rarely seen breeds out there. The dogs shown have worked their way up to this competition in the name of their breeds. I skimmed through the full list of the breeds that we will see in the upcoming dog show, and have selected five that I think are uniquely beautiful.

The first on my list is the Xoloitzcuintli, or Xolo for short. If you can pronounce that without looking it up please send audio clips. The Xolo is also known as the Mexican Hairless Dog. Yep, hairless. If you’re thinking of a Chinese Crested in comparison, the Xolo has even less hair! They were bred for hunting, and require application of sunscreen outside. Like most hairless breeds of animals, they typically also have specific bathing needs. 

I also want you all to keep an eye out for Dandie Dinmont Terrier. Just saying that breed aloud will most likely make you smile, but once you see one you will definitely smile. Another hunting breed (primarily otters and badgers), Dandie Dinmonts look like a combination of a Bichon Frise and a Corgi, with some Schnauzer sprinkled in there somewhere. They are great companion animals, but are typically not pack dogs so they prefer people over other dogs.

I’ve been told stories in my family about the next type of dog I want to point out. I’m combining the Puli and Komondor into the same category here, only because they are both known for their high-maintenance dreadlocks (corded hair). The Puli is smaller and bred as a herding dog, while the Komondor is larger and employed as a livestock protector. My great-grandmother has a Puli, so my mother has told me about how much work it was keeping up with their grooming needs.

Cirneco dell‘Etna is the next breed you should all look up. This is one of the world’s oldest dog breeds; with an Italian name and very Eqyptian-style look. It is believed that these dogs were brought from Northern Africa to the Mediterranean by the Phoenicians. There is Sicilian currency from the 5th and 2nd centuries that depict the Cirneco on coins. The Cirneco is a breed that has survived purely from natural selection. Everything about this breed intrigues me.

Finally, the last dog breed I’m going to discuss is the Leonberger. If Shih Tzu means “little lion,” then Leonberger has to mean “big cat,” according to my own opinion. These massive dogs can be very intimidating, but are usually big sensitive pups. They have a lot of talents, including great therapy dogs, as well as search and rescue dogs. They originated in Germany, and almost became extinct due to World War I. The revival of the Leonberger is credited to two breeders who managed to find the last remaining 25 dogs, of which only 5 were able to reproduce. Another impressive background story!

Well, there you have it. I’ve given you plenty of information about a number of dog breeds, as well as a lot of homework for you all. So, while you’re watching Best In Show you can get your phone out and start searching google for pictures and facts about the above breeds, before The National Dog Show airs. While, I don’t typically encourage paying such high prices from breeders because there are thousands of homeless animals in shelters, if you have a purebred dog you know that they can be susceptible to health issues. If you think your dog is dealing with food or environmental sensitivities, we specialize in hair analysis testing at 5 Strands Affordable Testing. We also have tests that help determine nutritional deficiencies, metals and minerals tests. All we need is a hair sample to test and you will get answers.

I look forward to viewing The National Dog Show next weekend with you all!

We just released a Pet Treat Test that tests for over 60 items. Check it out: https://www.5strands.com/product/affordable-pet-treat-test-50/

Did you hear about the guy who threw a bottle of omega-3s at his wife? Her injuries were only super fish oil.

When it comes to healthy lifestyles, we have numerous options for what that means to the individual. I’d like to believe that I lead a healthy life, and I am very careful about what foods I consume. It’s important to know the sources and quality of our foods. With that said, this transition into fall season has been a rough time period for my allergies. In the last month or so, I’ve been sneezing a lot and finding myself feel a bit winded at random moments. I just thought my body is still adjusting to Georgia’s pollen and environment. As a child I had terrible seasonal allergies with allergy-induced asthma. I recently bought local honey, hoping that will help build up my immunity, but I wanted to know what else I could do to support my body. It turns out, omega-3 fatty acids could be the answer!

I tend to rotate my supplements, depending on the time of year and what my body needs at the time. Even if I stick with the same supplement, I order a different brand to keep the strains diverse. The most consistent supplement I’ve taken over the years is algae, which I have not taken in a couple of months. In fact, I hardly ever get sick and I haven’t had a cold or the flu in years (I’ve never had a flu shot) and I always credited it to the algae supplements! I keep telling myself that once I finish my Vitamin E, I’ll order more Chlorella or Spirulina. Now, I realize I should order it sooner than later. I’d love to share my findings about omega-3s that led me to this conclusion.

 

What are omega-3 fatty acids?

We hear a lot about foods being rich in omegas, but what exactly does that mean? There are three fatty acids that fall under the category of omega-3s. To simplify this explanation, those three fatty acids are ALA, DHA, and EPA. You may have heard of one or all. I know I’ve seen these specifically important for brain development in children, or cereals being fortified with them. 

Our bodies do not produce these omega-3s naturally, so we must turn to food and diet for sources. Foods rich in omega-3s are fish (including fish oils), walnuts, algae, flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, leafy greens and soybeans. I would also like to point out that ALA is the most common omega-3 fatty acid found in the foods I just listed – primarily plant-based sources, while the other two are mostly found in fish and algae or microalgae.

I would guess I’m most likely deficient in DHA or EPA, or both. The best way to determine this would be our 5 Strands Nutritional Deficiency test. It’s been almost a year since I had myself tested for deficiencies, and I would have definitive answers by testing my hair sample. The inquisitive part of my brain really wants to test my hair for these deficiencies before and after taking this new batch of algae supplements. If I follow through with this, I will update you all. Our nutritional deficiency test checks for over one-hundred and fifteen nutrients vital for the human body, including omega-3! 

 

Is it possible to be sensitive to omega-3s?

This was one of my first questions when I began researching omega-3s. I’m sure it isn’t impossible for someone’s body to have issues with omega-3s – maybe too much for what their body needs, but I really couldn’t find much information out there about someone being intolerant or sensitive to omega-3s specifically. However, you can absolutely have an issue with a food that contains omega-3s. Fish and nuts are common foods that cause reactions ranging from full blown allergies (often life-threatening) to intolerance symptoms. 

If you find that you need to detox because of a food sensitivity related to any source of omega-3, don’t panic about falling into a nutrient deficiency. You may experience some of the symptoms associated with omega-3 deficiency, but as long as it’s a short-term period of time then you have nothing to worry about. Omega-3 deficiency may result in dry skin, dandruff, itchy eyes, fatigue, and irritability among other symptoms. While you may be uncomfortable feeling some of these things, you never want a nutrient deficiency to become a chronic issue. This is the perfect time of year to incorporate more omega-3s into your diet, with cooler and dry weather in the forecast. 

 

Usually, as soon as people find out that I do not eat meat (yes, fish included) I hear the typical questions. Where do you get your protein? Do you get enough vitamins? You don’t even eat fish? Do you miss bacon? It’s been over 12 years and I’ve never had a serious nutrient or protein health issue. It is very easy to have nutritional deficiencies as a vegetarian or vegan, because of processed foods with little nutritional value, but those who primarily eat meat and little vegetables also risk missing out on vital nutrients. 

When it comes to omega-3s, the best plant-based sources are leafy greens, algae, walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and soybeans. That gives us a lot of options! I think it’s more realistic to conclude that most people are lacking some omega-3s, not just those who don’t eat fish. The reality is that fish don’t naturally produce omegas. Guess where fish get their omegas from – yep, algae! I like to skip the middle-man and go straight to the source.

Omegas help stimulate protein formation from amino acids in the body, which is important for recovery from physical activity. Outside of athletic performance, studies have found that omega-3s also help prevent many health conditions, including stroke and heart attack. They’ve also been shown to reduce blood pressure, and slow the development of plaque in the arteries. If you suffer from anxiety, depression, or attention-related issues, omega-3 may be able to help with that! Not to mention benefiting skin hydration levels and in my case, help with itchy eyes and nose, and other symptoms associated with seasonal allergies. Omega-3s are clearly great for your immune system, so I will be making sure I order mine pronto, especially during these cooler months when everyone starts to get sick. 

If you think you may be having symptoms associated with food sensitivities or nutrient deficiencies in relation to omega-3s, our hair analysis tests can help determine what may be causing such issues. Luckily, there are options for everyone to find sources of omega-3s, because we all have our own specific needs. At 5 Strands Testing, our results help sculpt your diet and lifestyle choices to your unique requirements. 

 

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-are-omega-3-fatty-acids#types

https://omegavia.com/deficiency-symptoms/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/17-health-benefits-of-omega-3#section5

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Obesity in Pets

“That’s all you give him?” 

I’ve been asked that question twice in the last three weeks, but it isn’t the first time I’ve heard it. When guests in my home watch me feed my cat, Simon, they often show concern that it isn’t enough. When I first adopted Simon off the street he vowed that he would never be hungry again, scarfing down as much food as he could. This technique usually results in vomit. But because of this behavior, I had to measure his food and split his meals into four feedings every day. If I hadn’t made this adjustment he would be Garfield’s doppelganger! After switching Simon to a raw diet, however, I stopped measuring his meals.

He weighs between ten and eleven pounds and is very active, so the daily recommended amount of food for him is four ounces of frozen raw, according to Nature’s Variety Instinct website. The factors that determine how much to feed include the type of food, the cat’s activity levels and their current versus ideal weights. In the past, I’ve fed him Primal, Small Batch, Nature’s Variety Instinct and other similar products. They come in pre-measured nuggets – each approximately two ounces – so when I buy him Corrina’s Corners or All Provide (both are local Atlanta-based companies), I scoop out a similar amount to the size of the nuggets. I also add raw goat’s milk to each meal and he gets treats throughout the day, so it’s highly likely that I over feed him. 

He has maintained a healthy weight for years on a raw diet so I’m not concerned that he will be getting fat any time soon. If you’re concerned, there is a feeding calculator on Nature’s Variety’s website where you can check the amounts for dry, canned, and raw food for your pet! I’m sure most pet food companies have feeding guides on their websites so take advantage of your resources.

Every other day there is a new trend in weight loss or some article out about a new superfood that’s going to save us all. While there is evidence out there about the benefits of weight loss and strength training for humans, the pet community is slowly (but surely) catching up. They may have two more legs to carry themselves, but that doesn’t mean loading on extra weight onto them is acceptable. There are studies that show a number of health issues associated with obesity in our pets, so let’s look at a few!

Did you know that there is an Association for Pet Obesity Prevention? I love it! October 9 is National Pet Obesity Awareness Day, and thankfully they have provided some great resources to help spread the word. I’ve included the link below for their website, because not only does the Pet Obesity Association provide plenty of data for us, but October 9 they will be conducting their 12th annual Pet Nutrition and Weight Management survey. Collectively, we can help contribute to their data set! They also provide some great tools of their website that can be useful in reaching weight loss goals for our dogs and cats.

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, “In 2018, an estimated 60% of cats and 56% of dogs in the United States were overweight or obese.” That is millions of animals in American homes. I know people think it’s cute when our fur-babies have a little extra to love, but their health could be affected. Ideally, you should be able to easily feel your dog or cat’s ribs using light pressure with your hands. Also, if you’re looking at your pet from a birds-eye view, you can also look for a waist to help determine if they are dealing with weight issues.

Overweight or obese dogs and cats can develop arthritis, kidney issues, diabetes, high blood pressure, as well as heart and respiratory problems. Some cancers have also been linked to obesity in animals. In some cases, weight gain and chronic obesity can cause these problems, and in other cases they can worsen or contribute to diseases. If your pet’s little body is carrying unnecessary weight, it can cause their structural and organ systems to work harder on everyday tasks. That can affect their digestion greatly. In Traditional Chinese medicine there is a belief that if an imbalance in the stomach exists, health issues are sure to follow. We hear about probiotics, prebiotics, digestive enzymes, and the importance of the gut biome all the time these days. The same importance applies to our pets. By reaching ideal weight in a healthy manner, you could be extending the lifespan of your pet by years!

Diet is not the only factor in weight loss. You can help improve your pet’s health by increasing their activity level. Go for an extra walk everyday with your dog; you’ll reap the benefits too! You could also create an obstacle course or carve out more play time with your dog or cat. Not only does this burn calories for both of you, but it also builds stronger bonds with them. This is great endorphin-stimulating therapy! Don’t even get me started on the benefits of endorphins – I’ll start working on that blog article for another day. Another way you could help your pet lose weight is by finding out what foods they have developed sensitivities or intolerances to by testing their hair with our 5 Strands test. By discovering what foods or environmental factors could be causing symptoms in our pets, we can help them become healthier and happier.

If you’d like to purchase one of our tests, you can purchase on our website at https://www.5strands.com/shop/

 

https://petobesityprevention.org/